At the upcoming AFL draft, recruiters will be looking to bolster their lists with some of the country’s best young talent.
Most of these players will be around 18-years-old, however, clubs will also consider mature age prospects.
South Fremantle’s Tim Kelly, a clearance king who, with his explosive power to burst clear from stoppages and his proven goalkicking, is shaping up to be the best mature ager in this year’s draft class, after a stunning 2017 campaign.
“I wanted to show a great level of consistency this year. I thought that was an area I made a massive improvement in my 2016 campaign and just wanted to follow on from that and just grow and I thought I did that. I wanted to be a regular goalkicker. I made a goal to kick 20 goals for the year and I achieved that so that was a goal I ticked off as well. All-in-all, pretty happy with my year,” Kelly says.
The Palmyra junior booted 26 goals and averaged 26 possessions, four marks and four tackles from 23 games, to finish second in the Sandover Medal and South Fremantle’s Best & Fairest, both to Haiden Schloithe.
“I was just as happy for Schloithe to win the [Sandover Medal] award, I think you always knew it was going to be one of us. He’s a really good mate of mine and I was just as happy for him, and for me to finish second was a compliment for me and I still see it as a massive achievement. For two guys who are in the same team to finish top two, means they played well all year,” he says.
He also believes that he and Schloithe have “good chemistry” with each other, highlighting how damaging the pair are together.
“I think we have good chemistry, we seem to link up a fair bit, we always seem to be near each other – I’m either giving him a handball, or he’s giving me one and we put each other in better positions. It’s just chemistry, we seem to play well together,” he says.
Kelly was also a part of the historic WAFL State team that beat Victoria in Victoria for the first time ever, earlier this year, and starred with 25 possessions, nine inside 50s, seven tackles and four marks.
“For me personally, it was a great experience. It was the first time for me to travel anywhere for footy, so it had the challenges with travel, how much of your routine you stick to. I just tried to stick to my routine as best as I could, and do all the things that I normally do over in Victoria and I thought the whole travel factor of it, I thought I handled it pretty smoothly. I thought I played pretty well and obviously being a part of history was something I’ll always remember,” he says.
Throughout the year, he has produced a host of excellent performances, including against East Fremantle (35 possessions and seven goals), West Perth (39 possessions, 10 inside 50s, six marks, five tackles and a goal), Peel Thunder (26 possessions, 11 tackles, six marks, five inside 50s and a goal), Swan Districts (38 possessions, 12 marks, seven inside 50s and a goal), Perth (28 possessions and three goals), and Subiaco (28 possessions, seven inside 50s and two goals), which all culminated in him drawing comparisons to former North Melbourne, St Kilda and Claremont champion, Jim Krakouer.
“It’s a funny one because I know Jim, I’ve met him a couple of times and I’m not quite sure of how he’d feel about it. But personally for me, watching highlights of him, to get a comparison to someone like him who’s considered an AFL/WAFL legend, for me it’s great,” he says.
Without doubt, Kelly is one of the best mature age prospects for this year’s draft. Still only 23-years-old, he can slot straight into any club’s starting 18, due to his prolific ball-winning ability, his elite disposal and his creativity with ball in hand.